Marvel at the beauty of nature with breathtaking mountain views. Year-round, these secluded mountain cottages offer a quiet escape from the hustle and bustle with scenic vantage points that are second to none. By Nell Hofmeyr

Overseer’s Cottage
Table Mountain National Park

With staggering views of the Cape Peninsula, a hike up Table Mountain is unmissable. But why not extend your visit and have this world class landmark all to yourself once the sun goes down and the tourists are gone?

The Overseer’s Cottage in Table Mountain National Park is one of the scenic places to book. Photo courtesy of SANParks.

The quaint, self-catering Overseer’s Cottage has space for up to 16 guests. Situated on top of the table, it’s the only SANParks accommodation in the park that offers you the chance to fall asleep atop one of the world’s most iconic natural wonders.

With a fully-equipped kitchen and braai area, ample relaxation space and a fireplace for those chilly mountain nights, this unique hideaway is ideal for friend groups or families in need of some downtime.

Take the well-worn jeep track from Constantia Nek for a pleasant route to the top. You’ll find the cottage on your right, close to a few picturesque reservoirs.

Best way to explore: On foot. Whether you’re serious about hiking or prefer a leisurely stroll, Table Mountain has a trail for everyone.
Rates: From R2,891 for 6 guests, R485 per extra adult, R243 per extra child.
Contact: SANParks Central Reservations on +27 (0)12 428 9111, email [email protected] or book online.

Mountain Cottages
Mountain Zebra National Park

Tucked away in the far reaches of the Eastern Cape Karoo, two rustic huts overlook the mountainscape of the beautiful Mountain Zebra National Park – one of SA’s best kept wild secrets.

Picture courtesy of SANParks, Rudolph de Girardier

If it’s a simple, back-to-basics getaway you’re after, then look no further. These secluded cottages, accessible by either a 4×2 or 4×4 vehicle, sleep up to 10 people in three bedrooms and come equipped with all the necessities. But be warned, here you’re off the beaten track, so expect to make do without electricity.

With the rugged beauty of the Karoo as your backdrop, you can braai to your heart’s content beneath the starry sky, curl up with a good book or simply listen to the soundtrack of birdsong and silence. Day-time attractions include cheetah tracking, picnics among the trees and bird-watching.

Best way to explore: 4×4 enthusiasts, rejoice; this is your territory. Venture out along the Kranskop and Rooiplaat loops for game spotting, or head to the Sonnenrust trail on the northwestern side of the park for 14.2 km of exclusive 4×4 driving.
Rates: From R979 for 2 adults, R263 per extra adult, R132 per extra child.
Contact: SANParks Central Reservations on +27 (0)12 428 9111, email [email protected] or book online.

Highlands Mountain Retreat
Golden Gate Highlands National Park

Thrill-seekers and culture lovers are drawn to this area for its adventure activities and heritage sites. But the majesty of Golden Gate’s soaring sandstone cliffs is reason enough to make the trip.

Your very own Highlands Mountain Retreat! Photo courtesy of SANParks.

Enjoy the views at 2200m above sea level, from one of eight wooden cabins, suitable for both couples and families. The warm, cosy interiors, DStv access and comfy beds will ensure that you feel right at home during your stay.

Laze about and admire the highlands from your spacious veranda or use the unit as a starting point for further exploration into the park. Be sure to stop by the geological wonder that is Cathedral Cave or take a peek into the past at the nearby Basotho Cultural Village – a mirror image of traditional 18th century Basotho village life.

Best way to explore: On horseback. Roam through the wilderness on a guided outride starting at Gladstone Stables. This is a popular option among visitors, therefore pre-booking is essential.
Rates: From R1,609 for two guests and R2,583 for a family of four. R465 per extra adult, R233 per extra child.
Contact: SANParks Central Reservations on +27 (0)12 428 9111, email [email protected] or book online.

Thendele Camp
Royal Natal National Park

The lush Thendele camp forms part of the uKhahlamba Drakensberg Park, a World Heritage Site in KwaZulu-Natal. The brick and thatch chalets are divided between lower and upper camp, with both sites providing equally stunning views of the surrounding mountainscape. Some of the cottages cater for groups of up to six guests, making this a fabulous destination for you and all your friends.

Welcoming shades of red, yellow and orange decorate the interiors – a fitting complement to the vivid colour palette of the Drakensberg landscape. Whether you’re lounging inside or cooking up a feast in the kitchen, each of the chalet’s many large windows ensure you’re never more than a glance away from the breathtaking natural vistas.

Make the most of your time away and seek out the renowned plant and birdlife. A must-see is Tugela Falls, the second tallest waterfall in the world after Venezuela’s Angel Falls.

Best way to explore: On foot. With several self-guided hiking routes, this spectacular terrain is heaven for the intrepid traveller.
Rates: From R1,200 for two adults.
Contact: Ezemvelo Central Reservations on +27 (0)33 845 1000, email [email protected] or book online.

Algeria Cottages
Cederberg Wilderness Area

Just a three-hour drive from Cape Town, the picture-perfect Cederberg region is ideal for a quick escape if you just need to get away from it all. Restore your soul along the tranquil Rondegat River and make one of Algeria’s six modern self-catering cottages your ultimate rest stop.

Algeria Cottage feels like home away from home. Photo by Karin Schermbrucker.

Decked out with all the creature comforts, including fresh linens and towels, each cottage has two bedrooms: a master and one with two single beds. A great choice for a family with children. Light a fire to keep you toasty in the freezing winters, and when the summer heat descends, cool off in the pristine rock pool nearby. Wake up to the sweet smells of mountain fynbos and sip your morning coffee on the stoep before heading out for a full day of adventuring.

Best way to explore: On foot. Some of the region’s most worthwhile attractions, such as the ancient Stadsaal Caves, Maltese Cross and Wolfberg Arch rock formations, are best experienced via a number of lovely walking trails varying in length and intensity.
Rates: R990 for 1-4 people during off-peak season, R195 an extra person; R1,770 for 1-6 people during peak season
Contact: CapeNature: +27 (0)21 483 0190, email [email protected] or book online.